Animalism

Listen: the Earth’s siren wails
in tones only animals like us can understand.

We are pretending we do not caress ourselves
on the bed of feather blankets.
Wings– and we call them feathers.

Our weightlessness is contagious.
A broken Bob Dylan vinyl.

Tender was the night until the day absolved it so.

If a wolf sleeps through whistle
has he lost his lust? The life

of choice. We are obese with wrong decisions
and our belts contain the weight dribbling
past our buckles.

Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky annexed
by memory. Junebugs live there in relative obscurity.
Junebugs. June bugs.

 

(originally published in The Oddville Press, Summer 2017)

Reading Through an Old Journal

Work. Sex. Tacos. My everyday experiences
recorded in detail. Life now is a notebook
in which I don’t write anything down.

The callus on my middle finger used to be
stained with 2 A.M. ink after my days fluttered
vividly into pages before sleep. In one entry,

I recount a dream with my friend Alyse where
we’re in a forest digging morning soil
shouting, save the earth! save ourselves!

Today I sit with laptop at the mantle
of my past, sipping hot coffee to thaw
the winter-frozen ground of yesterday.

 

(originally published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Summer 2017)

Background Actors

At the foot of the staircase to the stars–
in the back of the line of actors drunken
from delusion (I’m going to make it),
each of us with hands full of hangers,
heads full of the fame
that glimpses a star, a familiar face,
how we chosen ones flicker
on living room screens
of friends and families–
a blip, a blur so brief
we were almost never there at all.

 

(originally published in The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction, Winter 2017)

Forsythia

The days when we would lay
on blue towels by the beach
combing through our Merriam-Webster
holding every fascinating word by the stems in our mouths,
our vibrancy was inseparable from gardens
full of hyacinths and rhododendron and zinnias
and, yes, forsythias, all these flowers in our hometowns
we never knew the names of
until we saw the words on sand-shorn pages,
said the names out loud, grasped endlessly
for petals in each other. No, we bloomed
laughter from our throats, planted seeds
into pits where absence grows in ensuing Aprils.
We never knew what words might appear
on Scrabble nights hunched over grids of possibility and–
strings of letters string surprising words together.
Marionettes, spider webs, violins, shoelaces,
your hair among the rules of nature, and nurture,
here nurturing the garden, here the home
where we tend other flowers– all my love,
I repeated. Forsythia, forsythia, forsythia.
But those beach days were distant, the tide slurring
softly alongside my returns from long unexplainable workdays–
all my love, I repeated. For Cynthia.
Wooden tiles tornadoed to the floor, slapping
the carpet with words we had not invented yet–
there is no remedy for lost trust. The flame
already sleeps in the bed of the mouth.
Cynthia, Cynthia. I did not know a Cynthia–
but I had never been able to name a forsythia
in the wild. The next time I see one
will feel like cheating. Nothing too-known is magical–
there is wonder in inventing nomenclature,
that a word like forsythia can only be made
in moments like anesthesia, with darkness descending
like the cigarette clouds of a severe storm when, in the drift
into a new consciousness, a lilac floats your mind’s pond–
a lilac, maybe, though that’s not what you want,
and maybe, in the distance, you see the blossoming
yellow that accompanies spring, the air golden around it–
the beauty that’s grander than words.
You wish you never learned the name for it.

(originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Spring 2017)

So Find Meaning

in the blue diner
we laughed
made something meaningful

but how you puckered
your lips
didn’t mean you need
communion

I am
trying to make my way
down High street
without kicking every red hydrant
I walk by

without drowning in wish
without
finding meaning in every stop
sign
every green light
turned red

I’m finding out greasy fries
aren’t made to be shared
they clump
onto the salty plate

every intersection
is just an intersection
avoiding cars
strangers

every passing honk
is for you

I was not made
to philosophize

words
mean nothing
until spoken

 

(originally published in Nixes Mate Review, Winter 2017)